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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On the evening of Oct. 21, 2002, Sonny Frisbie and Robert Young, two Hood County Sheriff’s Deputies, stopped a vehicle for having an inoperative license plate light. A video camera located in the deputies’ car recorded the stop. Young also wore a microphone. Frisbie informed the driver that her license plate light was not working, while Young checked the vehicle registration and safety inspection stickers on the windshield of the vehicle. Frisbie then requested identification from the driver. The driver identified herself as Suzanne St. George and presented Frisbie with her driver’s license. Frisbie subsequently asked Jeffrey Michael St. George, the only passenger in the vehicle, for identification. Jeffrey told Frisbie that he had a driver’s license,but that it was not with him. At the suppression hearing, Frisbie testified that when prompted, Jeffrey initially gave the name of John Michael St. George and a birth date of Dec. 16, 1975. Both deputies returned to their patrol unit to run the information they received from Jeffrey and the driver. The license and warrant checks for the driver came back clear. The dispatcher reported that there was no record of a driver’s license matching the name and birth date given by Jeffrey. Frisbie issued the driver a warning citation for the inoperative license plate light approximately nine minutes into the stop. While Frisbie was explaining the warning ticket to the driver, Young asked Jeffrey if his driver’s license was expired, and Jeffrey responded that it was. After further inquiries, the deputies ultimately learned Jeffrey’s true name to be Jeffrey Michael St. George. When they ran this name, the deputies found that Jeffrey had outstanding warrants for speeding and for not having insurance. They arrested him 10 minutes after the citation was issued to the driver. In the search incident to arrest, the officers found marijuana in a pack of cigarettes in Jeffrey’s pocket. Jeffrey filed a motion to suppress the evidence, claiming that the detention, questioning and investigation were pursued without a warrant and without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. After a hearing, during which the investigating deputies testified and the court viewed a videotape of the stop, the trial court denied the motion without filing findings of fact or conclusions of law. Jeffrey pleaded guilty to the charges and received deferred adjudication. He filed an appeal challenging the trial court’s denial of his motions to suppress evidence. The 2nd Court of Appeals reasoned that once the warning citation was issued to Suzanne, the deputies should have stopped questioning Jeffrey, because they did not have reasonable suspicion to believe that Jeffrey was involved in criminal activity. The 2nd Court disagreed with the state’s contentions that the initial misidentification and Jeffrey’s nervousness gave the deputies reasonable suspicion to continue questioning Jeffrey. The 2nd Court held that the prolonged duration of the detention was a violation of the Fourth Amendment, because the state never established articulable facts arising during the initial traffic stop to support a reasonable suspicion to justify the deputies’ continued detention and investigation of Jeffrey for nearly 10 additional minutes. The 2nd Court then determined that the evidence presented at the suppression hearing violated the fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine. HOLDING:Affirmed. The CCA began by noting that in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1968 decision Terry v. Ohio, the court addressed traffic stops and held that an officer’s actions must be justified at the inception of the traffic stop and must be reasonably related in scope to the circumstances that justified the stop in the first place. The test outlined in Terry, the CCA stated, is sufficiently comprehensive to address the issue of passengers in a vehicle subjected to an investigative detention. Jeffrey challenged the second part of this test and argued that officers’ continued questioning was not related to the justification for the stop, therefore, without reasonable suspicion that Jeffrey was engaged in criminal activity, the continued detention and investigation was illegal. Absent reasonable suspicion, the CCA stated, officers may conduct only consensual questioning of passengers in a vehicle. The state claimed that the misidentification by Jeffrey, coupled with his nervous demeanor, amounted to reasonable suspicion that Jeffrey was committing the offense of failure to identify. The CCA noted, however, that the deputies did not learn that Jeffrey misidentified himself until after the driver was issued a warning citation. Therefore, the CCA stated, giving a false name when officers did not know it was false could not give them reasonable suspicion to investigate further. Likewise, the fact that the dispatcher found no record of the first name given by Jeffrey was insufficient to raise a suspicion of criminal activity. Finally, any single trait, including nervousness, is not enough to amount to reasonable suspicion, the CCA stated. The CCA then examined the issue of consent. If an encounter is determined to be consensual, reasonable suspicion is unnecessary, the CCA stated. Although Young testified at the suppression hearing that Jeffrey was absolutely free to go, “it is clear that this encounter had become nonconsensual,” the CCA stated. Several minutes after the completion of the traffic stop, the CCA stated, the deputy continued questioning Jeffrey, and Jeffrey responded, “The problem is you’re questioning someone who is not even driving a car and just sitting here, and she got her ticket, and there shouldn’t be any other problem here.” The CCA agreed. Thus, the CCA concluded that the state failed to establish the reasonableness of the detention. At the time the driver was issued the warning citation, the CCA stated, the deputies did not have specific articulable facts to believe that Jeffrey was involved in criminal activity; thus, the questioning of Jeffrey regarding his identity and checks for warrants, without separate reasonable suspicion, went beyond the scope of the stop and unreasonably prolonged its duration. Accordingly, because Jeffrey’s continued detention was unreasonable, based on its nonconsensual nature and the fact that the deputies lacked reasonable suspicion to continue questioning Jeffrey once the initial reason for the traffic stop ended, the CCA affirmed the judgment of the 2nd Court. OPINION:Meyers, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Price, Womack, Johnson, Keasler, Hervey, Holcomb and Cochran, JJ., joined. DISSENT:Keller, P.J., dissented without a written opinion.

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